No Stopping Drones
Drones crashing into the White House lawn probably isn't great PR, but don't expect them to go away. Those who say "slow down" on drones are missing the point, says Rep. Earl Blumenauer. He says the train has already left the station. The congressman spoke during a conference on UAVs at the National Press Club, hosted by the Small UAV Coalition. Drones are "truly transformational," he says. The final FAA regulations on UAVs won't be out until 2017 (though they were due later this year).
We got a flight demonstration of the latest model of drone. DJI director of aerial imagining Eric Cheng says they're already implementing safety standards in advance of regulations--such as auto-return home, no-fly zones around airports and inability to fly above 400 feet.
Akin Gump lawyer and Small UAV Coalition executive director Michael Drobac showed off some other drones. The red Parrot Bebop he's holding flew over the House floor recently for a hearing on drones.
SkyPan owner Mark Segal showed us one example of what you can do with drones. His company takes aerial panoramas of views from buildings before construction begins, showing exactly what the view will be from any window. They put one such photo, from a new New York apartment building, on this umbrella. He tells us SkyPan has been taking these pictures for more than 25 years.
We also snapped Akin Gump's Greg Walden with SkyWard's Marcus Osorio and Google X Project Wing's Travis Mason. Currently, commercial drones can only be flown by licensed pilots. The UAV industry is hoping to change that, seeing uses for everything from crop assessment to poaching oversight to delivering vaccines.